Japanese tourism is on the rise. In 2017, 28.7 million tourists visited Japan. That’s an increase of more than 20 million over 5 years.
There are a few reasons for the increase. Loosened visa requirements make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit. In addition, the yen is down, which makes Japan a better value for travelers.
Thinking of joining the trend? If so, there’s a few things to know before going to Japan.
Read on for five tips that will help you when traveling to Japan for the first time.
1. Wear Socks
In America, you can walk around in flip flops or sandals during the summer. In Japan, there’s a very important reason you can’t do that.
When visiting Japan, prepare yourself to remove your shoes when entering some places. We’re not just talking about someone’s home, either.
Many restaurants require you to remove your shoes as you come in. If you’re not sure, look at other patrons’ feet. And be sure you’re wearing socks or tights underneath your shoes.
2. Tipping Isn’t Necessary
Tipping culture is a big deal in America. If you don’t leave 15 or 20 percent, you’re a rude customer.
But America is the exception rather than the rule. In Japan, trying to tip someone will get you a weird look at best.
When booking a hotel or restaurant, you don’t need to add a tip to your budget. Pay the price for the room or meal, then go on your way.
3. Walk to the Left
Going to Japan? Rember the Beyonce song where she sings, «To the left, to the left.»
That’s because people in Japan walk on the left side. The cars also drive on the left side of the road.
In America, cars drive on the right side of the road. That means we also tend to walk on the right side, but the same isn’t true in Japan.
4. Carry Cash
About 3 in 10 Americans say they never use cash in an average week. But in Japan, cash still rules.
Sure, you can carry a debit or credit card. But you can’t rely solely on that. If you try, you might end up in some sticky situations.
Before you go, look for international ATMs near your hotel. Plan to bring a certain amount of cash with you every day. Keep the rest in your hotel room.
5. Be Neat and Polite
You should not walk around in sweatpants and a ratty T-shirt in Japan. Save that particular ensemble for your sleep clothes.
Appearances matter a lot in Japan. You’re expected to look relatively put-together at all times.
Manners are also important. If you don’t know how to say «please» and «thank you» in Japanese, now is a great time to learn.
Also, don’t greet random people on the street. That’s fine in America, but it’s rude in Japan. Taking photos of people without asking first is a no-no as well.
Things to Know Before Going to Japan
The above list of things to know before going to Japan should be a jumping-off point to learning more about Japanese culture. Strive to be a self-aware American rather than an obnoxious one.
The best kind of tourist is a prepared one. If you want more travel tips for other countries, bookmark our blog. We’ll help you stay informed.